Contract voidable due to intimidation

Paragraph 2 of Article 1335 of the Civil Code provides:
There is intimidation when one of the contracting parties is compelled by a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an imminent and grave evil upon his person or property, or upon the person or property of his spouse, descendants or ascendants, to give his consent.
Consent is vitiated when intimidation is present. For intimidation to vitiate the consent of a party to a contract, the following requisites must be present: a) one party is compelled to give his consent by a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an evil; b) the evil must be imminent and grave; c) the evil must be upon his person or property, spouse, descendants or ascendants; and d) the evil must be unjust. 

To determine the degree of intimidation, the age, sex and condition of the person shall be borne in mind.[1] If a contract is signed merely out of reverential fear or the fear of displeasing a person to whom respect and obedience are due, the contract is valid because reverential fear by itself does not annul consent in the absence of actual threat[2], unless the fear so deprives one of a reasonable freedom of choice as to justify the reasonable inference that undue influence has been exercised.[3]

Intimidation need not resort to physical force. Intimidation is internal while violence is external. Bare allegations of threat or force do not constitute substantial evidence to support the annulment of consent.[4]


[1] Paragraph 3, Article 1335, Civil Code.

[2] Sabalvaro vs. Erlanger, 64 Phil. 588 (1937).

[3] Article 1337, Civil Code.

[4] De Leon. (2014). Obligations and Contracts.

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